Bees are considered both beneficial insects and common pests, depending on how they relate to the humans they live near. The benefits of having bees nearby can be both impressive and delightful, but the detriments of a local population can produce deadly consequences. Learn more about the benefits and downsides of having these insects living near you.
How They’re Beneficial
Bees are fantastic little insects to have around. They help to pollinate flowers and trees; in fact, most of our fruits and vegetables would likely not exist if bees weren’t busy pollinating them. In addition to their agricultural benefits, they also produce several products that humans know well and love. Honey and beeswax are the most popular bee byproducts, but they also produce royal jelly, which some people use as a dietary supplement.
Honey is a very popular sweetener that is used in a wide variety of products because of its hygroscopic (water-absorbing) properties. Honey also has potential health benefits that are associated with its natural antimicrobial powers. Tea with honey is a common remedy for colds and the flu, and honey can be used as an antibiotic ointment in a pinch to discourage the growth of infection in wounds.
Beeswax has become increasingly popular since its original use as candle wax. Now beeswax is available for use in everything from lip balm, skincare products, hair pomade, cheese coatings, mustache wax, casting molds, and surgical bone wax.
How They Can Be Pests
Sadly, despite the wonderful beneficial uses and products they offer, bees can also be major pests. Though they normally like to build nests in trees, in urban areas, bees often end up nesting in homes and abandoned structures. This close proximity to humans means that unwanted contact between the two species inevitably occurs.
Most bees come equipped with stingers to allow them to defend themselves or their hive. These stingers carry a mild poison that is deposited when the bee stings. This can be a great help when they’re fighting off an intruder from their nests, but it can be a nightmare if that accidental intruder is you. Stings are a common allergy, and reactions can range from mild to requiring hospitalization.
If bees have become a pest around your home, it is a good idea to call a professional extermination team to take care of them. Feral bees have become a rarity in the United States, so your extermination team may opt to relocate some or all of your bees if possible. If not, they’ll be able to quickly and efficiently suppress the population and help you to determine the best way to deal with any lingering damages to your home.